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administration revealing that it now considers north korea to be a serious threat against america's homeland. north korean leader kim jong un today reviewed his troops during military exercises. at the pentagon defense secretary chuck hagel warned it's north korea's long-range missiles that have sounded the alarm. >> but north korea in particular has recently made advances in its capabilities and has engaged in a series of irresponsible and reckless provocation. >> reporter: to counter the growing threat from north korea, the u.s. military will bolster the missile defense system in alaska by 50%, adding 14 interceptor missiles at fort greeley designed to intercept and destroy missiles aimed at the continental u.s. the u.s. military will also install an additional high-powered radar in japan to improve early warning capabilities. but why the deep concern now? remarkably, it ramped up last april during this military parade through the streets of
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pyongyang. u.s. intelligence was shocked to see what appeared to be long-range ballistic missiles that can be fired from mobile launchers with the capability of reaching the u.s. armed with a nuclear warhead. >> obviously without getting into intelligence aspects we watched this evolving threat very, very closely. >> reporter: the latest threat emerged as north korea launched a satellite into space orbit last december, and conducted a successful underground nuclear test last month. >> they still have a couple of technological hurdles, but this is not a long-term threat. this is a near-term threat. >> reporter: just recently north korea publically threatened a preemptive nuclear threat against the u.s. as the u.s. strengthens missile defenses kim jong un was warned today, don't even think about it. >> we believe this young lad ought to be deterred by that. if he's not, we'll be ready. >> reporter: it will be two to
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three years before that entire missile system in alaska is up and running. and the $1 billion additional it will take to pay for it all won't show up in the shrinking pentagon budget until some time next year, brian. >> i wonder how the expression "young lad" will translate in north korea tonight. jim miklaszewski starting us off on tonight's rare turn of events. jim, thanks. now to another story getting a lot of attention today. the very public discussion now under way about the future of the republican party playing out in a very public way today. as conservatives gathered for the big cpac conference in washington a prominent republican senator who was being considered as mitt romney's vice presidential running mate made an announcement today that surprised his party, announcing his support for same-sex marriage. and mitt romney himself made news today reemerging on the national stage to a warm reception in the room. nbc's andrea mitchell, following it all from our d.c. newsroom tonight. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. as thousands of conservative
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republicans gather outside washington the party's identity crisis is now personified by senator rob portman's change of heart on same-sex marriage. >> wow, what a crowd. >> reporter: on mitt romney's short list for vice president rob portman voted against same-sex marriage in the house and senate. he said it was a matter of faith. now it's a matter of family. after his 21-year-old son will, a junior at yale, came out to his parents two years ago. >> i think this is something we should allow people to do -- to get married and have the joy and stability of marriage that i have had for over 26 years. i want all three of my kids to have it including our son who is gay. >> reporter: will portman on a kayaking trip with his father and older brother tweeted, especially proud of my dad today. portman joins former vice president cheney who backed his daughter mary and her spouse. and 130 prominent republicans who signed a brief supporting the supreme court challenge to
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california's proposition 8 which bans same-sex marriage. but while a majority of americans, 51%, for the first time support same-sex marriage in a nbc news/wall street journal poll, it is opposed by republicans by more than two to one. >> senator marco rubio. >> reporter: at this week's conservative political action conference, rising stars like marco rubio preached to the choir. >> just because i believe states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way doesn't make me a bigot. >> reporter: and today mitt romney was greeted with cheers as he reemerged and apologized for losing. >> it is up to us to make sure that we learn from our mistakes and my mistakes and that we take advantage of that learning to make sure that we take back the nation and put in place conservative principles. >> reporter: republican critics say a group that courts donald trump and wayne la pierre. >> you keep your advice. we'll keep our guns. >> reporter: but shuts out new
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jersey's popular governor chris christie. >> i wish them the best. let them have a great conference. as for the rest of it, it doesn't bother me a whole heck of a lot. i can't sweat the small stuff. >> reporter: still hasn't learned how to win. >> this has, over the last couple of years, become almost a "star wars" bar scene of the conservative movement. when you have figures like donald trump as your headliners. >> reporter: in fact many of the party's own critics say that they will not start winning national elections until conservatives inside the room start reaching out to people outside the room including people like rob portman for whom gay marriage is no longer an abstraction. it is now personal. brian? >> andrea mitchell in d.c. tonight. andrea, thanks. a twin engine private plane crashed into a parking lot in ft. lauderdale this afternoon leaving a mass of burned cars along with the wreckage. piper navajo was taking off from ft. lauderdale executive airport when witnesses heard the engine stall. all three aboard the plane reported killed.
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no injuries on the ground. more trouble to report tonight for the popular carnival cruise lines. three of its shipsave had serious problems this week alone. this comes, of course, weeks after the nightmare trip on the vessel "triumph." our report tonight from nbc's gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: thousands of carnival passengers on the move. >> it's not the best way to end a vacation. where else to be stranded but a tropical island? >> reporter: the cruise line chartering 50 flights for more than 4,300 guests stranded on the carnival "dream" since wednesday because of a broken backup generator. >> i will never cruise carnival ever again. it's been a really bad experience. >> reporter: now yet another ship, the "legend" reports trouble at sea. a problem with its propulsion system that affects sailing speed. its stop in grand cayman cancelled as the ship slowly heads back to tampa. "elation" reported a steering issue this weekend.
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this all comes after the disaster aboard carnival's "triumph" last month. an engine fire stranded 4,200 passengers and crew in the gulf of mexico for five days with no power and no working toilets. the ship was towed to port. since then at least four lawsuits representing more than a dozen passengers. this week senator jay rockefeller, head of the transportation committee, sent a letter to carnival's ceo mickey arison blasting the line's safety record. at an industry conference, arison promised a review of the ships. for passengers of the dream and the legend, carnival is offering a partial refund and half off a future cruise. enough for some. >> we were treated fabulously. >> reporter: but not for virginia lancaster who never expected her honeymoon on the "dream" to be unforgettable for a different reason. >> it's not been a dream. i will tell you that. >> reporter: gabe gutierrez, nbc news, orlando. day three of the new papacy of pope francis.
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as more becomes known about this man and his life more signs have come along indicating possible changes ahead. with a big audience of catholics in this country and around the globe anxious to see how it sorts out, nbc's anne thompson remains at the vatican for us tonight. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. pope francis is telling his fellow argentinas not to attend his inaugural mass next week and instead to use that money to help the poor. a noble gesture on a day when the vatican defended his actions during a painful time in argentina's history. today the vatican struck back at critics who claim the pope's humble demeanor masks an ugly past. strongly denouncing claims that as leader of argentina's jesuits he didn't do enough to protect two priests, kidnapped and tortured during argentina's military dictatorship in 1976. >> there has never been an accusation concrete or credible in his regard. >> they reveal left wing
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elements, anti-clerical elements that are used to attack the church. they must be firmly and clearly denied. >> reporter: one of the priests issued a statement today saying years later he and the pope, then archbishop of buenos aires, celebrated mass publically and embraced one another. he considers the case closed. two days into his papacy, francis still has not reappointed the heads of the curia, the controversial vatican bureaucracy, suggesting to some there may be changeses ahead. >> this is a man not conceding to other people's concepts of what popes do and how popes act. he's remaining himself. >> reporter: unlike some of his predecessors francis speaks off the cuff. even when he stumbled today it was no big deal. the vatican released pictures to reinforce his informal image. riding the bus after his election and paying his hotel bill.
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at his meeting with the cardinals today the 76-year-old pope acknowledged that many of them are old men, but said they have wisdom that they must share with the young. he then greeted each cardinal, including francis george of chicago. >> the style is the substance. you watch him. you see how he reacts and what he does. that's as important as what he says. >> reporter: and the world is watching. tomorrow, pope francis will hold an audience for journalists. then on sunday he will give a public prayer and blessing in st. peter's square. brian? >> anne thompson at the end of this eventful week in rome. anne, thanks. on wall street here in new york today, the dow faltered just enough to break a ten-session winning streak, the longest since '96. the blue chips finished the day down around 25 points. the nasdaq lost nine points and change. s&p 500 came within two points of its all-time high yesterday slipping just slightly. still ahead as we continue on a friday night, a new warning as millions of americans struggle to save for retirement and beyond.
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there is a new formula to make money last. and later a fighting spirit. an amazing comeback really for a lot of folks who lost nearly everything they had.
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>> announcer: the road to retirement, brought to you by fidelity investments. take control of your personal economy. the numbers in a survey from the last year 2012 show just 14% of american workers felt they had enough money to retire comfortably. there are good reasons behind that number. americans are living longer for starters. a lot of things including health care cost more and financial
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markets have been so volatile over the past decade. so a major worry for an entire generation now heading into retirement is how to make savings last long enough. as nbc's chris jansing reports the rules and the math are changing. >> no more hurry. no more pressure. >> reporter: used to be hard work with and company loyalty were rewarded with the good life. >> what with my retirement plan and a few dollars i'd saved, i didn't have a thing to worry about. >> how many are going on these? >> 55. >> reporter: for an increasing number of older americans, that lifestyle is no more than a dream. >> retirement used to be 10 years, now it can be 30 years. that means your money has to last a lot longer. >> reporter: it didn't last nearly long enough for 75-year-old peggy weber. >> i was spending money a lot
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faster than i anticipated. >> reporter: five years after she retired from the phone company peggy started a second career at walmart. >> i don't think i ever envisioned it like this. >> reporter: neither did 65-year-old bill manger. retired from the food service industry he's back working, too at true part manufacturing in ventura, california. >> it was to put food on the table and take care of my dog. >> reporter: both say they like their b job but their stories are a cautionary tale for anyone still in the work force. the reality only about 25% of people can work for pay in retirement. either because they can't find a job or their health isn't good enough. and the rules of the retirement game are changing. for decades financial advisers have typically worked with this formula. save enough so if you take 4% a year from your nest egg it will last 30 years. now experts say you should reduce that 4% as much as possible and put off getting social security. >> every year that you delay
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social security you get an 8% increase in your monthly benefits. that's a return financially that you can't beat in any other case guaranteed. >> reporter: because working well into your golden years should be a choice, not a necessity. chris jansing, nbc news, new york. we are back in a moment with the unusual sight on tv last night and the strong reaction among viewers.
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a big birthday from a washington mainstay today. the presidential news conference turned 100 years old today. the first one happened by accident. president woodrow wilson was expecting to meet with some reporters. he was surprised when 125 of them walked in. his first official words were, "i did not realize there were so many of you." ike gets credit for the first televised news conference. there was no stopping them, of course, after that. basketball is in the news starting with two presidents. first, a white house photo
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showing the current president tossing up a basketball to entertain a young visitor to the oval office. then there was bill clinton last night at the louisville game appearing to have the time of his life posing for pictures with the team in the locker room. then there was last night's debut of the notre dame uniforms made by adidas. they didn't go over well. one commentator called them the fighting highlighters. another said it looked like the tragic aftereffect of a shamrock shake. went further -- called them the ugliest uniforms in sports history. another viewer said, i turned off my tv and i can still see the notre dame uniforms. across the street from us here in manhattan at radio city music hall samsung unveiled what may be the smartest smartphone ever -- the new galaxy s4. they are hoping it will be something of an apple killer. it will certainly get apple's attention. here's the thing about it. you just have to look at it. it can see and follow your eyes. it will pause a video if it
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senses you have looked away. you don't even have to touch it. it responds to the wave of your finger. soon we'll just have to think about calling someone and our phones will do the rest. up next for us here tonight, they are on the march, inspiring an entire neighborhood that could really use cause to celebrate these days.
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well, finally st. patrick's day weekend is here. the biggest parade in the country is tomorrow along 5th avenue in manhattan. among the marchers will be a band from the heavily irish-american section of the rockaways called breezy point. a part of coastal new york city that was devastated during hurricane sandy. they lost their equipment, practice space and homes in a lot of cases. they are going to prove this weekend they haven't lost a step. our report from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: march is the month for irish pipe bands. in the build-up to st. patrick's day there is a parade every weekend. the pipers from breezy point, queens, just barely got the band together in time. after the big storm the crowds are very happy to see them. ♪
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>> we lost a lot of equipment. you know, a lot of the drummers lost drums. we lost the flags. >> reporter: $20,000 of damage. drums, pipes and kilts had to be custom made by a company in northern ireland. the practice hall was destroyed. the storm, and then the fire. this neighborhood bore the brunt of what sandy dished out. terry williams is the band leader. his father's construction company built a lot of these houses. >> the physical devastation is something that we are all dealing with. but i think the mental anguish of all of this has been the hard part. >> reporter: all the members of the band live in breezy point or at least they used to, until the storm hit. most of the community is now uninhabitable. one of the drummers has a house on this block. even amid the destruction of homes and lives, williams made the band a priority. >> we are taking the band to try to use it as a focal point to build morale to keep people's spirits high.
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music is a great way to do that sometimes. >> reporter: they found a hall in brooklyn where they could practice and the band came out to play. >> i think it makes everybody feel a little bit better. everybody's happy today. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: on saturday they will march in the st. patrick's day parade. >> we're going to march with pride. we want the world to see that the breezy point community is still holding strong. >> reporter: new york city's fighting irish. stephanie gosk, nbc news, breezy point, queens. >> we'll be rooting for them at the parade tomorrow. that's our broadcast for this friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. don't forget, we are back on the air tonight for an all new "rock center" at 10:00/9:00 central. lester holt will be here with you this weekend. we'll look for you right back here monday night. in the meantime, please have a good weekend. in the meantime, please have a good weekend. good night.
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-- captions by vitac -- good evening and thanks for joining us on this friday evening. i'm jessica aguirre. >> i'm raj mathai. it is a painful anniversary for a family and one community. 15-year-old sierra lamar left her home a year ago and never returned. investigators say she was murdered but her body never found. the suspect has been in custody for months but has yet to enter a plea. marr marranan favro is here with us this morning. what did her mother have to say today? >> reporter: she was disturbed
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the case has not moved more quickly. the man accused of murdering her daughter arrested back in may of last year still has not entered a plea. she also says that has added to her grief. sierra lamar, a 15-year-old with a beautiful smile, a cheerleader who will never experience prom. tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the last time her mother saw her daughter. she disappeared march 16th on her way to a bus stop in morgan hill. >> she has a good soul. she is an amazing young woman that any parent would be proud of. and she didn't deserve this. >> reporter: despite the efforts of thousands of volunteers who searched and continue to search for sierra, her body has not been found. in may investigators did arrest angela garcia torrez on suspicion of murdering sierra, but now more than nine months later sierra's mother is still wondering why the case is dragging on. torrez has not even enter a plea.
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>> the pain and anguish is indescribable. it's been frustrating because it has gone on this long without the person of interest entering a plea. >> reporter: legal expert steven clark said it is not unusual in a case like this with an active investigation and no body. >> every time there's a tip, every time there's a new search, every time there's a new investigation, that gets transmitted to the defense and so this continues the investigation. that's one major reason why this is taking so long. >> reporter: he also says the longer the delay the better for the prosecution. >> finding the body's very critical to the case, so time is on the side of the prosecution. they want to find the body. that will make their case stronger. >> reporter: so tomorrow volunteers will once again return to morgan hill to comb through fields searching for sierra. her mother says it's because her daughter has not been found she still
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